Understanding and Applying for the UK ETA for Aberdeen

Sitting between the Rivers Don and Dee, Aberdeen is Scotland’s third largest city[1] and a historic seaport on the northeastern coast[2]. While once focused on the fishing and textile industries, today, Aberdeen is Scotland’s primary commercial centre, thanks to the North Sea oil industry.[2]

Visitors to Aberdeen can explore its heritage buildings, including the 16th-century St. Machar’s Cathedral and the Brig o’Balgownie, Scotland’s second oldest bridge.[1] Aberdeen is also well-known for its many gardens and parks, including the David Welch Winter Gardens in Duthie Park, one of the largest indoor gardens in the UK.[3]

Those planning to visit Aberdeen must be aware of the UK’s new ETA requirements and how they will affect travel to Great Britain. Let us look at the history of Aberdeen, its major attractions, and what every visitor should know about the new UK ETA system.

The History of Aberdeen

Early Years: From Stone Age Settlement to Medieval Trading Port

There is evidence that the area that is now Aberdeen has been inhabited since the Stone Age. This evidence can be seen in the ancient stone circles made by inhabitants several thousand years ago.[4] While no one is certain when Aberdeen was founded, it most likely came into being around the 8th century as a small fishing community.[5]

By 1136, Aberdeen had grown to become a town, and a thriving trading port for fish, wool and other commodities.[5] The merging of two settlements created it: Old Aberdeen, home of the local cathedral and university, and New Aberdeen, the main trading and fishing port.[2] The town was rewarded for supporting Robert the Bruce with acquiring one of his hunting forests in 1306.[5] This success was short-lived, as the English armies burned the city in 1336, while as many as half the townsfolk died when the Black Death came in 1350.[5]

Modern Aberdeen: The Rise of Industry

Despite these setbacks, Aberdeen continued to grow and prosper, increasing from a population of around 4000 in the Middle Ages to 10000 by the early 17th century.[5] The town’s commercial industries spearheaded this rapid growth and helped improve its facilities.[6] Even by the 19th century, as old industries such as textiles declined, new industries like shipbuilding moved in to take their place.[5][6]

In 1975, North Sea oil became the main industry in Aberdeen and had been an especially prosperous one for the city.[5] By 2022, the local population had grown to 196,000, and the city had become the commercial heart of Scotland.[5]

Things to See in Aberdeen

St. Machar’s Cathedral


One of the oldest buildings in Aberdeen, St. Machar’s Cathedral, dates back to 1530, although there is archaeological evidence that the site was used as a place of worship as far back as 580 AD.[7] The cathedral is open to visitors from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm and continues to be used as a place for religious services and musical performances.[3]

Tolbooth Museum


Aberdeen’s Tolbooth Museum is housed in the city’s former prison, which was used extensively in the 17th and 18th centuries[8]. Visitors can learn about the darker side of Aberdeen’s history here, and it is one of the best-preserved prison complexes of its era. Exhibits include prison cells dating back to the 17th century and the Maiden: the blade from Aberdeen’s guillotine.[3]

Duthie Park


Duthie Park is one of Aberdeen’s most popular public parks, with plenty of open spaces, fountains and ornamental ponds.[9] The biggest attraction in Duthie Park is the David Welcher Winter Gardens, which is one of the most extensive indoor gardens in the UK.[3] The David Welcher Winter Gardens contain rare and exotic plants from all over the world and are open daily.[9]

Weather in Aberdeen

Aberdeen has an oceanic climate which is characterised by mild summers and cool, wet winters.[10] The average temperature in summer reaches 18 Celsius, and it is the most popular time to visit the city. Winter is cold and rainy.[10]

Getting Around Aberdeen

Drivers in Aberdeen should know they will need to pay for most public parking.[11] A public transport network also operates a comprehensive network around the city and its surroundings.[11] Visitors may also choose to get around by bike: the city has bicycle lanes and parking facilities.[11]

Introducing the New UK ETA for Aberdeen

As part of the UK government’s plan to create a more robust border control system, the Home Secretary has introduced the Nationality and Borders Act 2022. The UK ETA (Electronic Travel Authorisation) scheme is part of this new border control system. The UK ETA for Aberdeen will require visitors to apply for permission to enter the country before they travel.[13] The UK Government intends for this new system to simplify the travel process while giving border control officers more tools to quickly assess each potential visitor to the country.[12]

Who Needs to Apply for the UK ETA for Aberdeen?

ETA eligibility includes all foreign citizens of non-visa countries visiting or transiting to the UK. Anyone from the countries listed will need to apply for the ETA. [16] This includes EU and visa-exempt countries, including the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.[15] The UK ETA applies to all foreign nationals whether they travel for leisure or business. UK and Irish nationals are exempt, as are British passport holders.[17] Anyone planning to enter the UK must apply for the ETA before travelling, and it remains valid for 180 days after it is issued. [14]

H2: What are the Requirements for the UK ETA?

In order to fulfil the ETA requirements, visitors must have a valid electronic passport issued by a non-visa country. All applicants must be travelling to the UK for leisure or business purposes or transiting to another country and intend to stay in the UK for six months or less. Applicants must also have no prior immigration violations or have a criminal history that makes them a potential security threat.[17]

Why is the UK ETA for Aberdeen being implemented?

Currently, visitors to the UK have to engage in a long process to enter the country as border control officers attempt to assess each traveller in a timely and accurate manner. The UK ETA scheme aims to streamline the UK’s entry process for foreign nationals and border control officers.[15] For border control officers, it gives them more time to assess each individual traveller and gives them the tools and information to make better-qualified decisions on entry.[15]

How to Apply for the UK ETA for Aberdeen

To complete the UK ETA Application foreign nationals will need to have a biometric passport and payment card details. They will need to enter personal information, including their full name, date of birth and contact information. Passport details will also be required. Eligibility questions relating to criminal history, health and previous immigration history will be asked. Finally, a fee will be requested from the applicant to process the application, which can be paid by debit or credit card.[18]

What Happens When the UK ETA is Granted?

Once the application for the UK ETA is submitted, it is expected to take a few days to process.[18] Travellers intending to visit the UK should allow enough time for their applications to be processed before travelling. Information on the ETA will be accessible to carriers, which will only be able to allow passengers on board if they have been granted a UK ETA.[15] Once visitors arrive in the UK, they can access eGates based on the information provided.[15] This will help reduce the time spent at the border and boost security measures.

To find out more, visit the ETA FAQ.

Visiting Aberdeen

Aberdeen is an important commercial hub for Scotland, with a history dating back over a thousand years. Its success over the centuries has led to a colourful history, much of which can be explored throughout the city today. All visitors to Aberdeen must prepare for the new UK ETA system, due to be implemented in 2024.[15]